Melbourne has locked in the exclusive rights to host the return of the culturally iconic opera, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, at Arts Centre Melbourne next year. The 16-hour epic by composer Richard Wagner is held only in a select few cities around the world and attracts a highly-dedicated international following.
First held in Germany in 1876, the Ring Cycle is a four-part opera, which it runs over four nights, is one of the most spectacular and compelling productions in Western culture. The Ring Cycle opens with this magnificent prelude. The struggle for power and wealth in Das Rheingold irrevocably alters the order of the universe and determines the course of the entire saga.
The second opera in the Ring Cycle holds special appeal for audiences with its dramatic power and remarkable music, including the famous Ride of the Valkyries. After Das Rheingold’s rarefied realm of gods, monsters, and nature spirits, in Die Walküre Wagner plunges headlong into the highly emotional world of humanity.
The third part is intensely focused on the fortunes of a single figure. Siegfried charts the rise of the son of Siegmund and Sieglinde into the greatest hero of the age. The Ring Cycle reaches its devastating finale in Götterdämmerung’s tale of treachery and destruction. All seems lost after naked ambition betrays love, and villains outsmart heroes.
Directed by Neil Armfield and conducted by Pietari Inkinen, it will feature Lise Lindstrom singing her first full Ring Cycle as Brünnhilde and some wonderful Australian singers making their role debuts, including Cheryl Barker as Sieglinde and Bradley Daley as Siegmund. Stefan Vinke returns with his phenomenal performance as Siegfried and Daniel Sumegi, Jacqueline Dark, and Warwick Fyfe reprise their outstanding interpretations.
Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley said: “The Ring Cycle is an epic and ambitious undertaking. It involves around 400 performers and about 150 people working behind the scenes. It’s another example of our strength as a leading creative and cultural city.”
The first Melbourne Ring Cycle was held at the State Theatre in Melbourne in 2013. Almost half of those who attended were from interstate or abroad. Each stayed at least a week, and many used their stay to visit regional Victoria. The 2016 Melbourne Ring Cycle is expected to be worth up to $15 million to the state.
“The verdict was pretty much unanimous: this was one of the best Rings anywhere in a long time.” – Classical Voice America
The Ring Cycle will be performed three times at Arts Centre Melbourne between 21 November and 16 December 2016. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Terje Stensvold as Wotan & Rainbow Girls in Opera Australia’s The Melbourne Ring Cycle 2013 – photo by Jeff Busby